Student Loan Payments

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One of your best chances for getting affordable payments on your federal student loans is to apply for an income based repayment plan.  Your monthly payment could be as low as $0 per month if your income is low enough.  Remember: this only applies to federal student loans, not private student loans.  Go to this website for more information:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven


Payday Loans

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Payday loans are usually given in amounts from $100 to $1,000.  You may pay $30 to borrow $100.  With interest rates and finance charges, you may be paying 300% to 750% in annual interest.  The loan will typically be due on your next payday.  If the payday loan is loaded onto a debit card, there could be more fees.


Debt Settlement Companies

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Beware of debt settlement companies that do any of the following:

  • They say there is a “new government program” to wipe out debts
  • They guarantee your debts will go away
  • They tell you they can stop all lawsuits

Where to Get Some Advice

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Where to Get Some Advice

 

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a non-profit organization that offers counseling in the following areas:

  • Housing
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Bankruptcy
  • Student Loans
  • Credit Reports

 

Their website is https://www.nfcc.org


Summons and Complaint

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If you get served with a Summons and another court document, such as a Complaint, take the matter seriously.  Generally, you only have 20 days to file something with the court.  If you get a Summons served on you, you should contact a lawyer to see what the case is about and what you need to file.


Employment Credit Checks

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An employer could run a credit check on you when you apply for a job.  Usually, this is done for jobs that handle money, like banking or accounting.  Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the employer has to notify you in writing and get your written authorization before they can run your credit report.  Your credit score is not affected when an employer runs your credit.


Credit Card Fraud Alerts

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You can ask your credit card company to set up a fraud alert so that you can be notified by e-mail or text when there is a charge over a certain amount.  But some fraudulent charges are made in small amounts.  The criminal could buy $5 worth of snacks just to see if your credit card works.  It may be a good idea to set your alert to zero, and then you will be notified any time a transaction is made to your credit card.


Service Members and Debts

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets 41% of its complaints from service members, but only 26% from others. Service members have faced problems with information being given to the commander of the unit and also with being called at work several times. It is likely a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to tell a commander about the debt.


Credit Builder Loans

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Credit builder loans can help you improve your credit score. Try get a secured loan, which means you should have collateral for the loan. Make your payments on time, every time. Make sure the lender will be reporting to the credit bureaus or else it will not help your credit. Title loans and payday loans are not credit builder loans.


Pay-for-delete Letter

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If you have a debt on your credit report that cannot be removed, try doing a pay-for-delete. You can make a deal with the collection agency where you pay some or all of the debt, and they will remove the negative item from your credit report. Make sure to get the agreement in writing. This can be a good option if you actually owe the debt. Remember that there is no guarantee they will accept your offer.


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